Central America and Mexico cruises are extremely popular with travellers as they portray a vast diversity of landscapes and culture due to the area’s central location between the tropical and historic south and the more modern and contemporary north. Cruises to this region promise a world of natural wonders, from tranquil white beaches to lush jungle canopies, and from mighty rivers and canals to towering mountains and eerie caves.
Along with the spectacular landscape, the culture is also truly eclectic with a fascinating blend of ancient civilisation, contemporary cities, Spanish flair and colonial architecture; the combination is both intriguing and unique. Diving, a variety of watersports, cultural history, mountains, monuments, and marine and wildlife attractions all make Central American cruises the perfect destination for any traveller, regardless of personal interest. For example, those with an interest in history and culture can enjoy the sights of Mexico and take in the mystical Mayan ruins, which display haunting evidence of the Maya people, the beliefs of which have made quite the indent in today’s society.
Tulum, Mexico, is home to one of the more recent Mayan communities, and the buildings and structures are some of the most well preserved in the country. Tulum is an easy and convenient excursion from Cozumel, where many of the major liners dock. Central America traditionally consists of Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama. The rich heritage and cultural diversity of these countries offers visitors broad and plentiful opportunities when travelling.
A key attraction on these Central American cruises is the Panama Canal, a true engineering marvel. The Panama Canal is not only a means of transport for cruise ships, but also a unique sightseeing destination in itself. The 48 mile long canal, which took 30 years to complete, was one of the most complex engineering projects of its time, and successfully created a quicker, safer route for trade ships travelling between Europe and the west coast of the Americas. Panama sees more than 1.5 million visitors each year, many of whom come to marvel at the accomplishment. The season for sailing the Panama Canal runs from October to April, with the rainy season ending in November.
Shore excursions can include trips to Puntarenas in Costa Rica, where you can bask in the Hot Springs on the slopes of the active Arenal volcano, or visit the rainforests at Pura Vida Gardens. Another popular excursion is to the La Paz Waterfall Gardens. These gardens are one of the most popular attractions in Costa Rica, and it’s not hard to see why - five beautiful and gushing falls, 200 lb jungle cats roaming their habitat, and cheeky spider monkeys are just some of the highlights at this natural haven. Costa Rica is also home to the Tortuguero National Park where green tortoises, crocodiles, and exotic birds are kept.
Central America isn’t just about the weird and wonderful wildlife and intriguing blend of culture, however. Believe it or not, it’s also one of the most popular destinations for thrill seekers looking to really get the adrenaline pumping. White water rafting along the Reventazón River is gripping, hair-raising, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that no adrenaline junkie can miss out on. There are well over 40 miles of rapids along the river, with sections suited to both beginners looking for a gentle introduction, and those looking for a more electrifying experience.
Many ports in Mexico are visited as part of Caribbean cruise itineraries from the United States, usually from Miami or Fort Lauderdale, while the Central American countries can be visited via fly cruise, or as part of a world tour, in between visits to the Gulf Coast and South America or the west coast of the United States. The tropical climate means there’s really no distinct winter season here, so whenever you travel, you can almost guarantee a warm and pleasant environment. However, between September and February, storms in the Gulf and Caribbean can cause some winds and rainfall on the east.
Whatever your interests, a Central America cruise has something to offer everyone and is the perfect opportunity to visit destinations very few people will ever see. The clear blue waters, glorious beaches and abundant rainforests ensure Central America cruises really do incorporate all of the 'must have' aspects that make for an incredible holiday.